Food and Art: Fresco is Italian for “cool” and “fresh” and Fresco’s flavors reflect their only-in-season menu which pulls from local offerings. The location is superb for before or after Overture Center shows (since it’s conveniently located above the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art) and overlooks State Street and the Capitol building. The adjacent rooftop sculpture garden gives diners art to ponder and discuss, too.
Comfort With a View: On the opposite end of the spectrum, Brickhouse BBQ has stick-to-your-ribs (get it?) comfort food like, well, ribs, pulled pork, wings, four (!) types of mac and cheese and brisket. The lovely brick interior gives way to a beautiful third-floor rooftop patio strung with lights that offer an urban escape that seats 55. (There’s also a street-level back patio, too.)
Bird’s Eye View: Madison Blind, a seventh-floor rooftop restaurant and bar located in the Graduate Madison hotel, tips its hat to our hometown cuisine with cheese curds, a sausage plate and plenty of local craft brews. Don’t miss the cheekily decorated lobby and rooms, which pay homage to Wisconsin and to UW-Madison with vintage prints, outdoor gear and lots of plaid.
Little Europe: A Milwaukee transplant, Café Hollander is perfectly at home in the capital city with a great location at Hilldale Shopping Center, spacious two-floor digs and excellent rooftop patio. Garage doors open on both floors to let the outside in and Belgian-esque delights tempt diners with items like frites, Dutch croquettes, seafood and plenty of Belgian beer.